Probably for as long as man lives, he has been surrounded by brands. Whatever the times, Amex, Stradivari or Liechtenauer won his attention over poorly branded service providers, violin manufacturers or fencing masters. In the global economy of the 21 century, we go to France for exquisite cuisine, Japan for the latest gadgets and the Maldives for peace and sunshine- from the pubs of Cape Town to the ice deserts of Greenland the whole world is on sale.
I always wanted to go to New York. A few months ago I went and despite having a very pleasant time was somewhat disappointed. The service wasn’t as good, the Meatpacking district as cool and The Hamptons as comfortable as expected- the reality couldn’t match expectations nurtured by years of media frenzy. I have been disappointed but I still want to go back. The brand of New York is too strong- I am sure the problem is with me- I must have missed something, distracted by the noise of Manhattan.
A week ago I have been dragged to Israel. I say “dragged” because despite the posters I saw on the tube I really didn’t want to go. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Middle East, I just really didn’t find it attractive as a tourist destination. The country seemed too hot, too dusty, too chaotic and yes, the never ending conflicts were conveying the unnecessary and somewhat annoying tension. I just got back to London, having spent a magnificent week split between the Old City of Jerusalem and the beach of Tel Aviv.
I have had great time and yet, if someone asked my opinion, I would send them elsewhere. The country that discovered of the role of Ubiquitin, invented the flash drive and the cherry tomatoes is remarkably poor in branding itself. After a few days on the Albion, it is hard to believe I actually went there and it was fun. Sadly, holding so many historic gems, Israel is too self sufficient to care about its image as a tourist destination. No matter how many foreigners miss flights in Ben Gurion, there will always be plenty more to take their place. Some will come to see Golgotha, some to drink the pomegranate juice in the shade of history or go snorkeling in Eilat. But global brands do not just sell fridge magnets and wooden rosaries. Well branded economic climates bring investors, strong international brands attract sponsors and positive political brands influence the mass media. Someone who has been around for almost six thousand years should know better.